ASUS Tinker Board S available on Amazon


#1

Anybody in need of more horsepower and/or convenience, should check the Asus Tinker Board S out.

https://www.amazon.com/Tinker-Board-Quad-Core-connectivity-Motherboards/dp/B00FS83U42/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537894493&sr=8-1&keywords=asus+tinkerboard+s&dpID=51IBYwNJydL&preST=SY300_QL70&dpSrc=srch


#2

How is your experience with it?

How does it compare to the Oxdroid stuff? :slight_smile:


#3

I don’t have one, yet. While it was officially released around 6 months ago, it was vaporware for the most part.

Seeing it on Amazon changed that.


#4

I received my Tinkerboard S about 5 weeks ago when Amazon had the last batch.

Pros:

  • TB “S” versions has on-board eMMC, which means an SD card is not needed. Image file can be installed via the USB port with Etcher, so no SD card adapter and SD card swapping is needed.

  • Has plenty of computing and I/O power. I receive > 1,000 messages per second peak on busy flight days and the load stays less than ~0.35. Of the four available CPU cores, 3 mostly sit idle per htop.

Cons:

  • Powered by a micro-USB instead of a barrel connector. It really needs a premium power supply with 3 amps, not a cheap cellphone charger or generic RPi kit charger, and it should have 22 gauge or larger wire. Folks over at Armbiam suggest powering via the GPIO pins, and I agree. A micro-USB port is only rated a 1.8 amps, so attempting ~3 amps through it is tempting fate. However the TB is powered, it needs to see 5.0 to 5.2 volts measured at the GPIO pins when under load.

  • There are other OS’es available, but I’ve only used Armbian. Works fine with no issues, but there is (was) no desktop/GUI support. Anybody thinking of using a TB and Armbian should be comfortable with command line / SSH access only.

  • There is not an abundance of newbie-friendly resources like RPi has. I wouldn’t recommend TB as a first SBC project for anybody.

Configuration utilities (armbian-config) are not as polished and developed as raspi-config, but are still serviceable.

On-board WiFi is 2.4 Ghz band only. If you have a crowded 2.4 Ghz location, then a $7 802.11 ac, 5 Ghz USB dongle works fine.

Factory heatsink works fine. My TB is in an enclosed box, so I added a 40mm cooling fan, but I never see CPU temps above 55 degrees C.


#5

I did not know about this. Yes, it could be a problem in the long run, continuous use.

These two had been my only concerns until now.


#6

It’s enough of a problem that it’s a sticky on the Armbian forum:

TB is a fine, even great SBC, but ASUS’s mistake was to keep using the legacy micro-USB for power. Micro-USB was fine for earlier lower-powered boards, RPi 1, 2, 3, etc, and everybody has a spare cellphone charger around that can be pressed into service. IMHO, anything more powerful (possibly including RPi 3B+) needs something like a proper barrel connector. More so, when people plug other devices needing power into the USB ports.

I see ASUS has now released their own 3A wall wart that may help, but I would still do everything possible not to plug in/out of the micro-USB very often, and certainly never while it’s powered.

Other new SBC’s are now getting out of the 5-volt micro-USB power limitation by going to 12-volt power, or to the higher-powered USB-C connector.

Once you’re up and running, Armbian works just like standard Debian Stretch. All of the usual packages and programs seem to work as expected.


#7

Looks identical to the Cisco adapters, from discarded equipment, I use with my RPis. It needs a barrel to micro USB pigtail, easily found on eBay. No power problems at all after this.


#8

Christopher Barnatt did some SBC benchmarking recently including these models


#9

Thanks for the link. Interesting results.

It seems to me that the first order of business should be a 64 bits OS for the RPi3+.


#10

Such an OS exists:

There are also others, but I wouldn’t expect widespread use or support until the Raspberry Pi Foundation makes 64-bit official. And I don’t see that happening anytime soon because of all the legacy RPi 1, 2 stuff out there.


#11

Thanks.

No updates since July 2017. I would prefer a Raspbian version. I think there is an Ubuntu port as well.


#12

Why? It has only 1GB of RAM, there is no “need” until you have more than 4GB.
Plus the 64 bit OS and all the native 64 bit apps are larger, occupying even more of the precious RAM.


#13

It seems to me that the second order of business should be to increase RAM to 4GB+.:wink: